Duhem actually raised two problems for crucial experiments—the problem mentioned above, as well as the problem of auxiliary assumptions, which any hypothesis brings with it; for reasons of space, we will only discuss the former here. Marcel Weber has utilized a famous experiment from molecular biology to offer a different vision of how crucial experiments work. After Watson and Crick discovered the double helical structure of DNA, molecular biologists turned their attention to how that macromolecule could be replicated see Section 1.
The focus was in part on the fact that the DNA was twisted together in a helix, and so the challenge was figuring out what process could unwind and replicate that complexly wound molecule. Three competing hypotheses emerged, each with their own prediction about the extent to which newly replicated DNA double helices contained old DNA strands versus newly synthesized material: semi-conservative replication, conservative replication, and dispersive replication.
They grew E. By then taking regular samples of the replicating E. Moreover, any hypothesis of DNA replication had to satisfy mechanistic constraints imposed by what was already known about the physiological mechanism—that DNA was a double helix, and that the sequence of nucleotides in the DNA needed to be preserved in subsequent generations.
For a critique, see Baetu An overview of the history of molecular biology revealed the original convergence of geneticists, physicists, and structural chemists on a common problem: the nature of inheritance. Conceptual and methodological frameworks from each of these disciplinary strands united in the ultimate determination of the double helical structure of DNA conceived of as an informational molecule along with the mechanisms of gene replication, mutation, and expression. With this recent history in mind, philosophers of molecular biology have examined the key concepts of the field: mechanism, information, and gene.
Moreover, molecular biology has provided cases for addressing more general issues in the philosophy of science, such as reduction, explanation, extrapolation, and experimentation. History of Molecular Biology 1. Concepts in Molecular Biology 2. Molecular Biology and General Philosophy of Science 3. History of Molecular Biology Despite its prominence in the contemporary life sciences, molecular biology is a relatively young discipline, originating in the s and s, and becoming institutionalized in the s and s.
He concluded a essay: The geneticist himself is helpless to analyse these properties further. Weaver wrote, And gradually there is coming into being a new branch of science—molecular biology—which is beginning to uncover many secrets concerning the ultimate units of the living cell…. According to Lily Kay, Up until around molecular biologists…described genetic mechanisms without ever using the term information. Crick —, emphasis in original It is important not to confuse the genetic code and genetic information. Brenner, letter to Perutz, Along with Brenner, in the late s and early s, many of the leading molecular biologists from the classical period redirected their research agendas, utilizing the newly developed molecular techniques to investigate unsolved problems in other fields.
Concepts in Molecular Biology The concepts of mechanism , information , and gene all figured quite prominently in the history of molecular biology.
- Path Double Helix by Olby Robert.
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Phyllis McKay Illari and Jon Williamson have more recently offered a characterization that draws on the essential features of all the earlier contributions: A mechanism for a phenomenon consists of entities and activities organized in such a way that they are responsible for the phenomenon. Stephen Downes helpfully distinguishes three positions on the relation between information and the natural world: Information is present in DNA and other nucleotide sequences.
Other cellular mechanisms contain no information. DNA and other nucleotide sequences do not contain information, nor do any other cellular mechanisms. Molecular Biology and General Philosophy of Science In addition to analyzing key concepts in the field, philosophers have employed case studies from molecular biology to address more general issues in the philosophy of science, such as reduction, explanation, extrapolation, and experimentation.
Rosenberg 4 Hence, the task of this explanatory reduction is to explain all functional biological phenomena via molecular biology. As Piotrowska explains, without the right context, even the complete lack of differences between two mechanisms cannot justify the inference that what is true of one mechanism will be true of another Piotrowska Conclusion An overview of the history of molecular biology revealed the original convergence of geneticists, physicists, and structural chemists on a common problem: the nature of inheritance.
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The Path to the Double Helix : The Discovery of DNA - temomulromys.cf
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